Top 5 Free Dynamic Compression Plugins
Music-making doesn't always have to be an expensive hobby. In this article, we'll be looking at 5 essential dynamic processors that you can pick up for free.
TDR Kotelnikov is a wideband dynamics processor combining high fidelity dynamic range control with deep musical flexibility. As a descendant of the venerable TDR Feedback Compressor product family, Kotelnikov has directly inherited several unique features such as a proven control scheme, individual release control for peak and RMS content, an intuitive user interface, and powerful, state of the art, high-precision algorithms.
With a sonic signature best described as “stealthy”, Kotelnikov has the ability to manipulate the dynamic range by dramatic amounts, while carefully preserving the original tone, timbre, and punch of a musical signal. As such, it is perfectly suited to stereo bus compression as well as other critical applications.
The concept is “proudly digital” in the sense that it doesn’t try to emulate any previously existing device. This is the original!
MJUC jr. is the little brother of the colorful MJUC.
It's a variable-mu design with lots of vibes capable of smooth leveling but also heavy pumping effects. With its two gain stages and interstage transformer simulation, it offers a very deep and lively soundstage.
The three-position timing switch not only controls the attack and release times of the unit, but also the slew rate of the transformers and the timing of the other parts of the circuitry, that are directly influencing the generated harmonics (saturation).
MJUC jr. is a mix of Mk1 and Mk2 of its big brother MJUC. It's combining very natural, dense compression characteristics of the early days of this type of compression with a more forward sounding approach and more harmonics creating of the variable-mu comps of the early 1960s.
3) LVCAudio ClipShifter
ClipShifter is a wave-shaping audio plugin that functions like a clipping-style limiter. It provides enough user controls to be useful in all mixing stages: from distorting basses and drums to maximizing mix buses and warming-up overall mixes. The sonic characteristics of the clipping distortion can be altered from hard, brick wall-style clipping, to softer saturation with compression.
4) D16 Frontier
Frontier is available only for registered D16 software users, who have purchased any product in the past or will do it in the future. It is available free of charge.
Quality and performance make Frontier a perfect tool for almost any studio situation. Its simple and clear interface in combination with excellent sound quality will surely be appreciated by any engineer looking for an efficient way of controlling the dynamics of a channel, bus or even master output. Frontier can be used as very transparent mixing/mastering limiter (at certain settings) with just licking the loudest amplitude peaks, or can be utilized more creatively, as sound shaper, when more extreme settings are at stake.
5) FXpansion DCAM FreeComp
DCAM FreeComp is a free plugin for premium circuit-modeled compression in VST, AU or RTAS hosts. Featuring a realistic model of a classic console bus compressor design, it is intended to gel subgroups and entire mixes together while enhancing punch and definition. It's also excellent at creative sculpting, taming peaks in individual tracks and creating pumping compression effects with more extreme settings.